- The Washington Times - Monday, January 9, 2006

Robbery and assault in the District’s 3rd Police District, which includes Adams Morgan, jumped last fall, by as much as 46 percent, but new measures have reversed the trend.

Other crimes, such as theft, also spiked in September and October but dropped the last two months of the year.

“Simple assaults are sort of a way of life at 3 a.m. in the morning in this area,” said Bryan Weaver, a member of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1C whose single-member district includes much of the area in which the crimes occur. “On any given night, we only have six or seven officers assigned to our [police service area]. But unlike other [police service areas] we are dealing with six or seven thousand people coming in from other parts of the city and Virginia and Maryland to drink or dance.”

The increase in crime since 2004, police said, is due to a variety of factors, including an increase in visitors to the Adams Morgan area and certain repeat offenders’ being on the loose again after serving jail time.

Police Cmdr. Larry McCoy, who is in charge of the 3rd District, blames much of the crime on career criminals released from prison and returning to their old neighborhoods — neighborhoods that, in many cases, are more affluent than when they left.

“Some guy gets out of jail and crime goes higher,” the commander said.

Area robberies increased to 141 in September, compared with 96 during the same month in 2004. In October, theft in the area rose from 160 in 2004 to 179 last year. In November, assaults with a deadly weapon climbed from 45 to 55 compared with the same month in 2004.

Police responded to the spike in crime and neighborhood complaints by increasing street patrols throughout the evening and late at night by pooling forces from other areas, Cmdr. McCoy said.

Crime in the 3rd District has dropped noticeably since the increase in police presence. In December, assault with a deadly weapon dropped 14.6 percent, theft declined 18.8 percent and robberies fell 13.7 percent compared with the rates in the same month in 2004.

“We started allocating manpower a little differently,” Cmdr. McCoy said. “We are hoping to get four new officers up there really soon.”

The police department also assigned several detectives to work robbery cases and uncover criminal rings that may be involved in more than one incident, Cmdr. McCoy said.

Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey “allocated more detectives to look at current cases and try to link them to prior cases,” Cmdr. McCoy said. “We would follow up with a search warrant of that person’s address, and sometimes we’d find cell phones and credit cards from different robberies and link them that way.”

Business managers in Adams Morgan yesterday were aware of the high crime rate, especially at night, but were uncertain if there had been a decrease.

“There are a lot of home robberies at night. We didn’t have any crime here,” said Neal Becton, 43, co-owner of Crooked Beat Records on the 2400 block of 18th Street Northwest. “But, I’ll come in on Saturday morning and I see a lot of windows broken on parked cars.”

“There seem to be a lot more police going by,” said co-owner Bill Daly, 41. “I think they should put police on beats, have them walk by.”

Police made more than 35 arrests in September and October and at least 40 similar arrests over the past 60 days for robbery, Cmdr. McCoy said last week.

Some residents remain skeptical about whether police have the crime spike under control.

Tony De Pass, 60, a former traffic-court judge, said he thought there had been no crime decline in Adams Morgan, and “The increase has been going on for some time.” He said four banks had been robbed “a couple weeks before Christmas” near 18th Street Northwest and Columbia Road.

Response times to police calls are too slow, said Rabieh Malik, owner-operator of Tienda Malik clothing store in the 1700 block of Columbia Road. “They need to speed up response to the call,” he said.

• Arlo Wagner contributed to this report.

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